Al-Ghazali On Disciplining The Soul & On Breaking The Two Desires
Books XXII And XXIII Of The Revival Of The Religious Sciences (Ihya 'Ulum al-Din)
By Abu Hamid Muhammad Al Ghazali
Translated By T.J. Winter (AKA : Abdal Hakim Murad)
Paperback 370 Pages
Publisher :The Islamic Texts Society (ITS), Cambridge, UK
About The Book
The spiritual life in Islam begins with riyadat al-nafs, the inner warfare against the ego. Distracted and polluted by worldliness, the lower self has a tendency to drag the human creature down into arrogance and vice. Only by a powerful effort of will can the sincere worshipper achieve the purity of soul which enables him to attain God's proximity.
This translation of two chapters from The Revival of the Religious Sciences (Ihya 'Ulum al-Din) details the sophisticated spiritual techniques adopted by classical Islam. In the first step, On Disciplining the Soul, which cites copious anecdotes from the Islamic scriptures and biographies of the saints, Ghazali explains how to acquire good character traits, and goes on to describe how the sickness of the heart may be cured. In the second part, Breaking the Two Desires, he focuses on the question of gluttony and sexual desire, concluding, in the words of the Prophet, that 'the best of all matters is the middle way'.
The translator has added an introduction and notes which explore Ghazali's ability to make use of Greek as well as Islamic ethics. The work will prove of special interest to those interested in Sufi mysticism, comparative ethics, and the question of sexuality in Islam.
A Selection from the Table of Contents
- 1. An Exposition of the True Nature of Good and Bad Character.
- 2. An Exposition of the Merit of Good Character and a Condemnation of Bad Character
- 3. A General Exposition of the Means by which Good Character May Be Acquired.
- 4. An Exposition of the Symptoms by which the Diseases of the Heart May Be Recognised, and the Signs which Indicate a Return to Health.
- 5. An Exposition of the Way in which a Man May Discover the Faults in his Soul.
- 6. An Exposition of the Way in which Young Children Should Be Disciplined, and the Manner of their Upbringing and the Improvement of their Characters.
- 7. An Exposition of the Merit of Hunger and a Condemnation of Satiety.
- 8. A Discourse on Sexual Desire.
- 9. An Exposition of the Aspirant's Obligations Regarding the Renunciation or Contraction of Marriage.
- Appendix I: Persons Cited in the Text.
- Appendix II: Translations of the Revival into European Languages.
- Appendix III: The Wonders of the Heart.
- Index to Qur'anic Quotations
- General Index
About The Author
Abu Hamid Muhammad, famous in the world of learning as al-Ghazali was born in 450 AH (1058 A.D). in Persia . He graduated from the Nizamia Madrasa at Nishapur, with distinction.a very famous educational institution in Nishapur. Later he was appointed as a teacher at the Nizamia College in Baghdad, where he proved very successful in imparting knowledge to the scholars under his care. This valuable gift of sustaining interest of his pupils and passing on his knowledge to them made him so famous that students from all parts of the country flocked to study under him.
Imam al-Ghazzali was fondly referred to as the "Hujjat-ul-lslam", Proof of Islam, He is honoured as a scholar and a saint by learned men all over the world.
Imam al-Ghazzali's life was spent in self-sacrificing service of God and his fellowmen. He left behind him a fine example for all men to follow. He died in 505 AH He remains one of the most celebrated scholars in the history of Islamic thought. His exceptional life and works continue to be indispensable in the study of jurisprudence, theology, philosophy and mysticism. The books that he left behind were the result of an inquisitive mind that began the quest for knowledge at a very early stage
Timothy J. Winter graduated from Cambridge University with a double-first in Arabic in 1983. He then studied Islam under traditional teachers at Al-Azhar, one of the oldest universities in the world. He went on to reside in Jeddah, where he administered a commercial translation office and maintained close contact with Habib Ahmad Mashhur al-Haddad and other ulama from Hadramaut, Yemen.
In 1989, Tim Winter (AKA Abdal Hakim being his Muslim Name ) returned to England and spent two years at the University of London learning Turkish and Farsi . Also a University Lecturer in Islamic Studies at the Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge, England, and Director of Studies in Theology at Wolfson College.
His research work focuses on Muslim-Christian relations, Islamic ethics and the study of the Orthodox Muslim response to extremism. He is particularly known for his translations and namely his Al-Ghazali series
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